Final: Manchester Storm 3 Sheffield Steelers 6

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
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Mathieu Roy celebrated his 200th EIHL game with two goals and a win, this evening.

The Canadian winger put Sheffield Steelers ahead at Manchester Storm in their Challenge Cup group game, the first serious match of the new season.

That was at 14;31.

But 71 seconds later, the talisman turned provider, helping Tim Wallace score.

Both goals were on the Power Play - evidence that the pre-season training programmes had clicked well.

Steelers, with new signing Juha Koivisto in the number 42 shirt, had lost 4-2 in Altrincham in a friendly on August 27, but they were comfortably in charge when the first break arrived.

Juha Koivisto

Juha Koivisto

Seven minutes into the middle session and Steelers were 3-0 up and seemed in cruise control, Robert Dowd back-handing home cleverly.

But Storm responded quickly and got one back, Dallas Ehrhardt getting on the scoresheet.

The momentum swung - and Manchester reduced the arrears further when Ryan Trenz scored at 31;37.

Storm’s gathering offensive presence was interrupted by a bout of fighting with Wallace, John Armstrong and Colton Fretter getting penalties on the Steelers side, but it remained 5-on-5.

Storm's Mark Ferriss

Storm's Mark Ferriss

Passions remained high, though, with Sheffield unhappy over a high hit on Ben O’Connor.

Steelers needed a goal to restore their superiority and it came from Andreas Valdix at 39;04 - the third Power Play goal of the night.

It took the Swede just six seconds of the PP to execute - ensuring for the second period running they were two goals to the good.

Steelers had identified Chris Auger as a danger in their planning ahead of this Cup opener.

And it was the Chicago Blackhawks’ draft pick who brought the score to 4-3 at 43;33, on a short-handed play.

Storm upped the pressure and were unlucky when a shot struck Ervins Mustukovs’ post.

But Roy’s second goal for Sheffield gave the visitors some breathing room.

And Jonas Westerling also scored a debut EIHL goal as Steelers pulled clear of danger and into an unassailable 6-3 lead.

Five different scorers and an away win in a difficult rink -not a bad start to the season.

RESULTS

Saturday 9th September

Elite League

Belfast Giants 6 Guildford Flames 4

Nottingham Panthers 4 Coventry Blaze 3

Challenge Cup Group A

Manchester Storm 3 Sheffield Steelers 6

Challenge Cup Group C

Cardiff Devils 5 Milton Keynes Lightning 2

Scottish Elite Cup Semi-Finals ( @ Murrayfield)

Dundee Stars 2 Fife Flyers 6

Edinburgh Capitals 2 Braehead Clan 4

FIXTURES

Sunday 10th September

Elite League

Coventry Blaze v Manchester Storm - 5.15pm

Milton Keynes Lightning v Belfast Giants - 5.30pm

Challenge Cup Group A

Sheffield Steelers v Nottingham Panthers - 5.00pm

Challenge Cup Group C

Guildford Flames v Cardiff Devils - 6.00pm

Scottish Elite Cup ( @ Murrayfield)

3rd/4th place match

Dundee Stars v Edinburgh Capitals - 3.00pm

Final

Fife Flyers v Braehead Clan - 6.30pm